Finally got around to watching Red Sparrow. I remember there being a lot of hub-bub (that’s a Cool Gus term) about Jennifer Lawrence and nudity, yada yada and not much talk about the actual film. I’ll try not to do spoilers in this review. The trailer is at the bottom.
It didn’t seem to take off and came and went. The ratings, Rotten Tomato and whatever the other one is, are like 50%, so not the greatest. My expectations weren’t high.
It’s a long movie. It is a complicated movie. It is a brilliant movie.
It’s one I’m going to have to watch again to figure out key points in retrospect.
I compare it to Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy which I also loved, and Cool Gus reviewed HERE, but it’s different in some key areas. In Tinker, Smiley is at the heart and you know Smiley has a plan. In Red Sparrow, Jennifer Lawrence is at the heart and she doesn’t have a plan. She’s constantly reacting. But she reacts well. As she tells her uncle at the end — “didn’t I do well?”
Yes. She did.
Got to give her credit not only as an actress but seeing a brilliant script and understanding it. Frankly, I don’t think many people really got what happened in this movie. Speaking from my limited experience, covert operations are complicated. The first thing we used to do in Isolation after getting a mission packet was ask: What if they’re lying to us? What if the purpose of this mission is something other than the stated purpose? What if we’re pawns being moved on a board (because we mostly were) and we don’t know the larger game? Because one thing about playing chess: pawns are expendable.
I have a hard time getting across to people without the background the rampant paranoia in special operations. Just because you think they’re out to get you doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you.
No one is the deus ex machine in Red Sparrow although the mole comes close. But even he expected to die. He didn’t expect Jennifer Lawrence to come up with her brilliant improvisation. And that’s the key. She’s caught up in something and has to constantly react. She did expect to die in that key scene. But she also had no choice but to play that hand out. And she played all her hands against a stacked house hand successfully.
BTW — Mary Louise-Parker had a small roll but I love her. RED was a much more realistic movie than most people realize. And, of course, Weeds. I’d like to see her in more movies.
The male lead is one of those guys you kind of recognize but don’t know his name. Joel Edgerton. What I like about him and Jennifer Lawrence as characters is that they were very, very smart. There were times I was ready to groan and go — I hope this doesn’t go stupid, and it didn’t.
I think a lot of people not only didn’t get it, they also didn’t get all the nudity and sexuality that was hyped. There was nudity but it was what was necessary for the story and it certainly wasn’t erotic. Also, there was little violent action. Some but not the ass-kicking martial arts bullshit we see in a lot of movies. This was realistic stuff when needed. Not your run of the mill action movie. Some people have compared it to Atomic Blonde but that was more action, less thinking. This was a thinking movie.
Thus Cool Gus gives Red Sparrow four paws up and a big belly rub!
PS: A new feature has begun: Becca the Labrarian is now sniffing out free or discounted eBooks (not just mine but other bestselling authors starting in June). They will be featured on my freebies page. Also, every so often (not too often) they will be featured in the newsletter which always has good stuff in it. You can sign up for the newsletter here.
Nothing but good times ahead!
Originally published at bobmayer.com on May 23, 2018.